Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Influence of Hope

Though many people I know are wonderful and inspiring, today I want to share with you about a woman who has truly blessed and influenced my life. Her name is Tami Webb, and though she has so many amazing traits, her compassion, optimism and faith truly stand out.

The Webbs have been friends with my family since they moved here from Ohio 8 ½ years ago. We met though church and homeschooling, and we stayed in touch especially because my siblings and I were close in age to some of their kids.

Something that always stuck out about Tami was her remarkable kindness and compassion. She always includes everyone around her, and she has a very tender heart. I believe this was a huge reason she and her husband decided to become foster parents. Though they had three boys of their own, they opened their loving home to the children in the foster system about five years ago. They first wanted to adopt a girl, because Tami had always wanted a daughter. However, all the girls they fostered they were never able to adopt for one reason or another.

But though this was frustrating, Tami stayed optimistic—the second point I wanted to make about her. Even though her heart broke every time a foster child was moved to a new home, Tami kept smiling and giving love to everyone around her. Pretty soon the Webbs realized there was a huge need for homes for special needs children, and they decided they were meant to help meet that need. Tami's compassion and optimism only grew, despite all the discouraging prospects that come with children with special needs. Two of the little boys she loves have stories that especially illustrate Tami's compassion and optimism.

About three years ago they received Jason, a little red head infant who has the one of the most severe case of down syndrome in Michigan. The doctors did not expect much of him, saying he would never walk and probably would never be able to respond to much, because his mental handicap was so great. However, he has more than thrived under Tami's loving care and continual optimism—he now loves playing games like “the itsy bitsy spider” and “patty cake,” giving kisses and high fives, and in the past month this little 3 ½ year old has accomplished a true miracle—he has begun to walk using a walker!

Another amazing testament to Tami's optimism is the story of another little boy, Aiden. Aiden came to their home about a year ago when he was only a few months old. One day after he had been with them a month or two, he took an unusually long nap. When they went up to check on him, he had turned blue and wasn't breathing! Thankfully they were able to get him to the ER in time, but he has been different ever since. It turns out he has some sort of mitochondrial disease, and now he no longer makes eye contact (sometimes he acts like he is blind) and barely responds to anything. He cannot sit up or talk or do much more than move his arms, and has had a lot of trouble breathing. However, this sad state has only made Tami more compassionate and she has remained optimistic despite his monthly (sometimes weekly) visits to the doctor and ER. In fact, she has such hope for him and his future, and such love for this little boy, that they are currently in the process to adopt Aiden.

However, what really keeps Tami going is her Christian faith, and it is so evident in everything she does. Tami credits all of her optimism and compassion to Christ, the source of her hope and strength to continue on. She is a true example of giving her burdens and worries to God and continuing on with the hope that he will use her to bless the special little children in her life. Her and her husband started a church in Paw Paw last January, and has been a huge support by leading the children's ministry and a women's prayer group, (in addition to caring for and homeschooling all her children!). She inspires me to give my all to Christ, because she has so many more things to worry about than I do and yet she is still so positive in everything she does—from the ready smile she always gives anyone she sees to the little things like a continual flow of optimistic and even joyful status updates on facebook!

Tami is an amazing woman of faith, who shows compassion and optimism in everything she does. She is a huge encouragement to me and I really love her. I am so grateful that I am going to get to know her even more in the future, because she is going to be my mother-in-law!


Sydney said...

What a beautiful and thoughtful post! It's funny the everyday inspiration you can find from people you know. Thanks for stopping by my blog from SITS. Hope you'll visit again!

Vic said...

Wow. What a beautiful post. It was encouraging for me to read about a woman so much after my own heart and so uplifting. It's amazing how God places the right people or posts in your view at just the right moments in time. You have sincerely encouraged me today and God bless you!

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